I need a holiday

Dear Australia,

I love you. But really… Today you kinda sucked.

Political friction and religion/race-based riot talk aside – because that’s just a can of worms I don’t want to be responsible for while I’m not here – just the mundane day to day I encountered in the course of one morning was enough for me to think, “What the hell are we doing?”

I went to McDonald’s for lunch today with the LGBB. Special “treat” after I picked her up from school three hours early so we could get some last-minute shopping done before we fly out to Japan tonight (tomorrow morning if you want me to be pedantic… we’re leaving home at about 4am *yawwwwwn*).

I waited for over a minute for the two young staff members, one male and the other female – full of their own youth and self-importance, from what I could gather – to finish their inappropriate conversation (clearly audible to my young daughter) about their partying on the weekend, before the male stepped over and drawled in my general direction (no eye contact or any clear stepping-up so I, again, had to gather he was addressing me), “Whadya like?”

Not being an establishment I frequent very often, so therefore not being terribly familiar with their menu, I went to the counter to ask for a box of cookies. Well, more specifically, I wanted to know if they actually still sold them. They were listed nowhere on the menu that I could see. So I asked him a perfectly simple question: “Do you still sell the McDonaldland cookie boxes?”

“Yeah,” he replied, sounding incredulous. Well, like… duh, lady. He motioned with his head over to the wall. I still couldn’t see what he was on about. So I asked to see a box and how much it was.

This was apparently too much for him. Perhaps I reminded him of his mother. Clean your room, Jeremy, and there’ll be no XBox for a week if you keep up that attitude! He slouched over and pulled down a box from behind a perspex panel with an animated graphic of Ronald. Right. Silly me, my bad. Of course I should have seen them there. At the last moment, I saw the little sign above where his hand had reached down a box that said “Cookies $1″. So I asked for a second box. You know, to save him the five steps back to the counter.

He sighed and put them down on the counter, out of my reach. Not satisfied that he’d been quite enough of a little prick, he punched laboriously into the touch-screen register like a senior citizen learning how to work an iPad for the first time. This suave, smooth, buff, quite good-looking boy was certainly no trained monkey. He also had more tickets on himself than a box office. I knew he knew what he was doing. So in an attempt to just be done with the transaction, I held out my $2 coin to him. He held his palm out but didn’t move it towards me, just held his hand there and met my gaze. With an attitude possibly not even his mother could love. I left my coin on the counter, reached over and grabbed my boxes and gave him a look that I hope said to him, “You are a disgrace and should be lucky you have a job, you little turd.” He sneered at me. He actually sneered. And turned back to his equally impossibly pretty cohort to have a good laugh.

Now… I ask you: if either of those young adults had been your children, would you be proud? Sure, you could counter with, “Hey, McDonald’s don’t pay enough, it’s slave labour, the hours are gruelling, the work is gruelling, the managers are never there, the work is not worth the money, the…” Yada. Yada. Yada. He’s got a choice. He can leave. Or he can damn well suck it up and at least be polite. If I was giving him grief or making his life difficult, then, yeah. He’d have some just cause. But I asked him a simple question.

Of course, you could also think there was nothing wrong with what he did. Which would make my cause for concern even greater than it already is.

See, I worry about the world my child is growing up in. I worry about the classrooms she has to be in when she reaches adolescence, with children as bad or worse than this young privileged fool. I worry for the teachers and how they maintain any modicum of discipline (or gain any ounce of respect) if parents are churning out young people with this sort of awful attitude towards strangers. When they are in a position of service, no less.

It starts in the home. There. I said it (and I’m not the first to say it). If children see us sneering and sniping at each other, adult to adult (whether on the junior team sports ground or in the school carpark or at the play centre or the shopping mall), what hope have they got? If you like taking swipes at strangers for no good reason – because, after all, what have you got to lose, right? Not sleep, that’s for sure – you are setting a not so fine example for your offspring. I’ve seen so much of it, been the brunt of so much of it. You poke your shopping trolley at the wrong angle and just happen across the angriest woman in your suburb on the wrong day and BAM! You’ve got yourself a fiesty shopper wanting a spit-fight.

Let’s get over ourselves, huh? Stop trying to be “better than”. Or be the “bigger person than…” You’re not helping your children with this mentality. They have a “the world owes me” benchmark that is so high, only the very few will pass muster in their eyes. What a sad and lonely adulthood they face. They also end up behind the counter at fast food outlets begrudging the lesser-than customers who are making their lives misery. Ironic, much?

If retail/serving isn’t what makes you happy… don’t bloody well do it! Do us all a favour.

If reading this blog post is making you want to reach through the screen and slap me… try it! Do us all a favour.

 

Goodbye, Australia, I’m outta here for two weeks. And I’m taking my decent manners with me.


Me. Tonight. En route to Japan. Hnnnngggh! *in through the nose, out through the mouth*
Peace out, peeps xo

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